Rituals are the kindergarten of religion. They are absolutely necessary for the world as it is now, only we shall have to give people newer and fresher rituals. Baba does not totally advocate the abolition of rituals; out of the existing rituals, new ones will have to be evolved. There is infinite power of development in everything; that is my honest belief. Baba must clarify and open my intuitive eye as well as that of everyone. (Lord Meher-p-4914-1963
The diverse rituals and ceremonies of different religions and cults are intended to release divine love, but they mostly bind the soul to the repetitive mechanism of expressive forms. Attachment to the rigid forms of external expressions of love to God not only limits the love itself but creates separative divisions between one religion and another. Therefore the rituals and ceremonies often bind the soul to ignorance and illusory separateness and become an obstacle to real illumination.
The true spiritual aspirant is therefore more keen about the inner life. Inner life is based on love for God, and it is this love that annihilates all desires, keeping only one desire and longing – that of union with Beloved God. He has no obsessions for expressing his reverence in any set forms. Such obsessions twist the real life. A free soul is never entangled in any of these inessentials, and never allows itself to be overpowered by the separative tendencies released by attachment to rituals and ceremonies.
No rituals after ten days of death
A person dies, when his sanskaras are exhausted and spent in full. After a person dies his sanskaras snap the mind’s connection with the gross body, and at that time he receives such a shock that he forgets every incident of his past life. But even though the gross body drops, the mind and the subtle body remain full of sanskaras.
For the next forty to seventy hours after death, the attention of the sanskaras is centered mostly on the place where the body is kept. But after that, there is no connection whatsoever between the dead person and that place. Within the next eight or ten days, the spirit of the dead person experiences the subtle state of either heaven or hell according to his sanskaras.
After a person dies, many people perform rites and ceremonies for a long time, but all these are useless. No ritual is necessary after ten days; however, the best rites would be to feed either dogs or crows near the body because they have subtle sight and can see the spirit of the dead person. Crows and dogs are not subtle-conscious, but they have subtle faculties of perception and draw toward themselves the sanskaras of dead people.
Rites and Rituals after death
Some people are particularly afraid of the exact moment of death because they anticipate unbearable pain at that instant. In reality, all physical suffering experienced during illness or just before death terminates at the moment of death. The process of actual dropping of the body is quite painless, contrary to this superstition that a person experiences indiscernible agonies in death.
However, severing of the individual emotional entanglement in the gross world is not found to be easy. The various religious rites observed after death has primarily the purpose of helping the departed individual disentangle him from these ties.
For instance, the repetition of the name of God or of scriptures, often practiced after death of a person, has wholesome effect on both those who have left behind as well on the one who has passed away, because they help to free both parties of their mutual sanskaric attachment to form. The severance of the soul’s earthly ties becomes more difficult due to crying and wailing of relatives after death. The lamentation and wailing often observed has a degrading and depressing effect both on those left behind as well as on the person, who has passes away, for it tends to strengthen mutual attachment to form.
If you have love for the dead it should be selfless. The dead do not want your expressions of sadness. Manifest such love for them that they would be pleased and at peace. If you want the consciousness of their souls to progress, express selfless love. Do not make them unhappy by your weeping and wailings. The joy expressed by the people at the birth of a child should be expressed when a person breaths his last instead of all show of sorrow, grief and sympathy.
Zoroastrian people feed the dogs near the corpse. It has a meaning. According to Meher Baba, “The best rite would be to feed either dogs or crows near the body because they have subtle sight and can see the spirit of the dead person. Crows and dogs are not subtle conscious but they have subtle faculties of perception and therefore draw toward themselves the sanskaras of the dead person.”
Some times in the night we see the dogs barking in the night in a particular tone apparently without any purpose. The reason is that they see the astral bodies in the dark night. They can see but they have no knowledge, therefore they are afraid of the sight.
In Hindu religion there is tradition of offering ‘Pind-dan’ to the spirit of the dead generally on the third day of his death. The crow is supposed to eat the food kept as Naivadyam or Pind-dan in the name of the dead person. Sometimes it so happens that the crow may come near but does not eat the Naivadyam. The relatives of the dead then realize that the dead person’s wishes have not been fulfilled therefore he is not accepting the Naivadyam So, they try to say many things one by one anticipating what would be in the mind of the deceased person, or his unfulfilled wishes.
The spirit of the dead stands there in astral form and does not allow the crow to come near the Naivadyam as long as his wishes are not fulfilled. But just his wishes are fulfilled it goes away and naturally the crow eats the food. The crux of the whole issue is that the crow can see the spirit in astral world or astral form of the dead and therefore it does not go near the Naivadyam.
After a person dies, many people perform rites and ceremonies for a long time, but all these are useless, No rituals or a ceremony is actually necessary after ten days.
Mourning beyond limit is bad after death
The expression of uncontrolled grief for the dead is always bad. Wild outburst of sorrow and long continued unappeasable lamentation always produce a most painful effect upon the dead and relatives. Our remembrance should take a form which will be helpful and not harmful. Vivid thoughts of love and friendly wish produced for the dead have beneficial effect on them. Every thought of the man instantly draws round itself matter of the astral plane and remains hovering around him. The thought form has only a temporary existence, the length of which is determined by energy put into the thought. One who has been widely loved is very much helped and uplifted by currents of thought directed to him.
There are several instances on record to show the depression and saddening effect upon the dead, which is often produced by selfish and uncontrolled grief of the survivors.